Friday, February 27, 2015

The straws in a cup reward system

We are three weeks into a new reward system.

Basically it's straws in the cup for good behaviours and taking straws out for bad behaviour.

My neighbour does a similar things with pop sticks. It seems to be working for her kids, and I was willing to give it a go. This is opposed to chaos and tearing my hair out in frustration. I was taking some control back where their behaviour is concerned.

To earn a straw the girls do things like
  • brushing teeth
  • making their bed
  • cleaning up toys
  • eating all their dinner
  • doing amazingly good things
The cups live on top of our fridge, with a few other things, like a sixty odd year old photo of my dear Granny,
some paint brushes and other odds and ends.

They lose straws for bad behaviour, like clobbering each other, or not doing what they are told. Or for squeezing a whole bottle of shampoo into the bath! You should have heard them howl when I took a straw out of both their cups for not picking up toys. This is when I knew, this straw thingy was a good thing.

Once they have six straws in their cup, they get a treat. It could be of their choosing, like a trip to the playground, a playdate, or an ice cream for example.

So far, they have had six straws twice. So I have taken all the straws out and replaced them with an Easter egg. Then the straw earning starts again.

Also I printed out a simple reward chart. When they earn a reward for six straws, they get to colour in a star on the reward chart. When all the stars are coloured in, they can buy a toy from the toy shop, or Kmart or wherever.

My kids really don't have that many new toys(compared to some), so I guess this is a way that we can give them more in a measured way. They get that important lesson that good things are earned and new toys don't grow on trees.

This reward system seems to be working for us right now. The key I guess, is to be consistent.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February #52weeksofmemories

5. bedtime
My cheeky sods right before bed time, playing silly buggers.

6. feet
Us girls, feet up, watching the telly at the holiday house

The girls doing jig saw puzzles, before school. 

7. watching

Brett took the girls out to check the cray pots in Livingstons Bay, near Pelican Point. I stood and watched with the dog. I was the nervous mother on the beach watching my babies go out to sea! They had a great time!

8. on the floor

These two I took yesterday. One of Summer playing during the day, when she gets all the toys to herself.
The other, an after dinner puppet show, with puppets made from toilet rolls.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Persian spiced veggies with lentils

I like to share my food on instagram. I just like to share my food! 

I am one of those weird people who sit down, take a photo, then proceed to eat, whilst instafaceytweeting what's on my plate.

Some people don't get it and sometimes I let that sway me. But in the end, I like to do it, so I keep posting.  I thought I would push it further and overshare here with how I make it. 

This spice mix is in my pantry. I use it to sprinkle on my veggies before I bake them for lunch some days.

Persian spice
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoon ground rose petals*
2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander

Mix all together and store in an airtight jar or plastic container in the pantry.

*I find the smelliest roses I have, take a couple of handfuls of the petals and place them on a baking tray. Dry them in a slow oven until they are dry, then crush them up. If you're not into eating your garden,  you can buy edible rose petals online or in specialty food delis, or just leave it out.

Baharat spice mix is good to use if you want instead of the persian spice.

Vegetables of choice, such as - pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant, onion, garlic, beetroot, zucchini, capsicum. 
1 tin lentils, drained and rinsed**
half a tablespoon of persian spice
Olive oil

Chops veggies into 2cm cubes. Coat with olive oil and persian spice in a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven at 200 for 15 - 20 minutes.

Tip and mix in a can of lentils, put back in the oven for another five minutes to warm through.

Serve as a warm salad with feta cheese and fresh herbs. I've used greek yogurt and mint in the photo above. 

**Instead of lentils, you could go in with whatever you like, brown rice, couscous, chick peas or quinoa. 

I've also made this with squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, onion and garlic. Instead of the spice blend, just used mixed dried herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil. Baked for 15 minutes, add the lentils for 5 minutes and served with greek yogurt and basil pesto. So yum!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Baharat Chick pea tagine

The last time Brett and I went out for tea(without kids, which was way too long ago), we went to an Egyptian restaurant.  It was here I first learnt about Baharat spice mix. The food was delish and it began a fire in me to explore more about spices, and cooking with them. 

Baharat Spice blend
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Stir to combine. Keep in a sealed jar or plastic container in the pantry.

I use it in casseroles, sprinkled on veggies for roasting, and in this tagine. I enjoy this for lunch every now and then. It's so tasty.

Chickpea tagine
2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Baharat spice blend
1/2 roasted chilli*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon coriander stems, chopped

Add oil to pan on a low heat.
Add onion and simmer until transparent.
Add chilli and baharat, and cook for a minute to release flavours.
Add chickpeas, tomatoes and coriander stems to the pan.
Add enough water(about 2 cups) to cover ingredients.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to cook until juices are reduced to a gravy consistency.
Garnish with some natural yogurt and fresh coriander. 

*I used half a roasted green chilli. I am still using the ones I preserved in olive oil from last year. You could use a pinch of cayenne pepper, or a small fresh chilli, or a half a teaspoon of harissa paste.

This recipe has been adapted from the Maza gourmet foods cook book. 


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Foraging at Canunda

One of my favourite things to do at this time of year is go to Canunda and forage.  We weren't there to dig for cockles and I only had one of my kids with me this time.

The last few years I have relished in taking my girls out to show them what we can get from nature. This year Summer and I picked muntries. Lots of muntrie berries and pig face fruits. It's the first time I have tried pig face fruits. There were so many, and there has probably always been heaps, I just never looked for them.

They taste just like feijoas! It's that type of fruit. It bugs the hell out of you because it is tasty, but you just can't pin point that flavour. It was my SIL that made the taste connection. She was apprehensive because my BIL told her they were poisonous. Fooey Nigel! They are so not poisonous and delicious to boot.

Summer just loves muntrie berries and she ate more than she actually put in her bucket. I couldn't be more proud.

The sound of the wild pumping sea was too much of a lure. Had to go for a short walk through the dunes to catch a glimpse of the southern ocean.

This place is amazing. Whatever cares you have, are quickly dissolved here.

The drop dunny in the camping area. It's free to come into the national park, but if you stay, you pay. What better time to come, when there a cockles in the beach, and native fruits to dine on.

Pig face flowers

Muntries and pig face growing together. Peel back the red skin from the bottom of the fruit and find the white seedy fruit inside. The two forked prongy things are like a handle to hold the fruit from.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Flatbread wraps

I make these quite a bit. I like them for salad wraps, and for a soft wrap when we have tacos.

I like my tacos in a soft wrap, the kids don't mind it either. Brett isn't happy however if he doesn't have his hard crunchy taco shells. So I serve both.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cups water

Place flour and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the centre.

Mix water and oil, then tip into the flour well.

Combine to make a firm dough.

Divide the dough into 8. Roll out into thin discs, one at a time and cook for 2-3 minutes each side in a hot, dry frypan.

I also add a tablespoon of Maza zaatar spice blend or dried herbs. You could also use flavoured olive oil to add something extra to your wraps. The oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes for example.

You could use substitute one cup of flour, for wholemeal flour if you have it.

Summer loves a salad wrap for lunch

Friday, February 13, 2015

I can't believe the news today

My place in time #11  - I can't believe the news today

I found it quite amusing that he had the pirate flag flying, as his house was being re roofed.  It was like it had been taken under mutiny!

I can't believe, when I took this photo a few weeks ago, that this may be the last time I see a flag flown from the Mt. Gambier road flagpole.

Mr Harkness has been flying flags everyday for the last six years. It seems like he's been doing it forever. Such a shame that flag thieves have caused him to reconsider flying flags, from his extensive collection.

Driving this stretch of road just won't be the same, without glancing up and seeing which flag is flying this week. Most of the time, I have no idea what the flag represents or which country it belongs to. I do know I am going to miss seeing them, and I know that surely I am not the only one that found enjoyment in seeing the flags flown beside his house.

These two were taken in July last year. I'd been meaning to put the flagpole in a 'My place in time' for ages. Finally got round to it. Shame is isn't in better circumstances. I do hope those flags keep flying.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Grilled peaches with rosemary

I have so many peaches right now. The tree is loaded and they all seem to ripen at once.

I made these grilled peaches. They are OH SO good!  

The recipe is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe from a magazine from a few years ago. Our local library has magazines of all sorts to borrow, so I have been taking advantage of that, I can't get enough of looking through food mags. This way I can do it for free!

The original recipe used a vanilla bean and a dash of brandy. You could use them if you have them. He suggested you serve them with crumbled biscotti and creme fraiche, which would be awesome. I think some toasted almond slivers would be nice too :)

Grilled peaches with rosemary
6 peaches, halved and stones removed
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 rosemary sprigs

Arrange the peaches in a baking dish, cut side up.

Mix the vanilla essence with the juice of an orange and pour over the peaches.

Scatter the zest and the sugar over. Lay the rosemary over the top.

Place the dish under a hot grill for 5-6 minutes or until fruit is golden and the juices are bubbling.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Homemade chocolate chip muesli bars

I am so glad I had a go at making my own muesli bars. I don't know what it is, but I see the boxes of bars at the supermarket and I just can't bring myself to buy them. Maybe it's the price, or maybe it's just because I haven't had success in getting my kids to like them.

I was quite surprised my fussy eater loved these, and Brett was full of compliments about them too. I thought they were extremely tasty, and will surely be making them again. Soon! I can see that they are not going to last long. 

I am so keen to try out different ingredients, besides chocolate chips and sunflower seeds. Like apricot and almond, choc chips and chopped up dried banana, or white choc chips. As an afterthought, a tablespoon of sesame seeds probably wouldn't have gone astray in this batch. The possibilities are endless. 

You should try make some, they are yumptious scrumptious and fantastic for school lunch boxes.

4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 canola oil
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 160C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place oats, flour, coconut, brown sugar, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and salt in a large bowl. Mix to combine.

Whisk together the oil and honey until well combined. Add to the dry ingredients until the oats are well coated with the oil mixture.

Tip onto baking tray and mound into a rectangle, about 22 x 28 cm and 2 cm thick. I used an egg flip to help push down and flatten the top and neaten the edges.

Bake for 40 minutes, until golden.
Cool for 10 minutes on the tray, then slice into 24 bars.

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